LOS ANGELES (CN) – Rock group Fleetwood Mac fired guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham over the phone in January this year and after 43 years and several albums he’s suing his former band members, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.
Buckingham, 69, said less than a week after his last concert with Fleetwood Mac, a manager called to tell him they would be touring without him. He’s seeking $12 million to $14 million in damages among other proceeds from the tour.
The rock band, fronted by Stevie Nicks, Michael “Mick” Fleetwood, Christine McVie and John McVie, sold 40 million copies from their 1977 album “Rumours” and released several more multi-platinum-selling albums.
Buckingham joined the group in 1975 with Nicks, left in 1987 to pursue his own solo career, but rejoined the group in 1997.
According to his lawsuit for breach of contract and other charges, Buckingham and the other members never had a “written band agreement” and Fleetwood Mac operated as a partnership where each member had the right to veto major decisions.
“Since Buckingham and Nicks joined the band in 1975, no partner has been involuntarily dismissed from the partnership,” said Buckingham in his 22-page complaint.
Buckingham said the group discussed a concert tour for 2018 and 2019, but he requested they postpone so he could release and promote a solo album. The band refused and while he was initially frustrated, he eventually agreed to delay the release of his album for a year, according to Buckingham.
In his complaint, Buckingham said Nicks insisted the group not perform more than three nights a week during the tour and although a slower pace meant the tour would take longer and be less profitable than a more tightly scheduled tour, the group agreed.
Promoters Live Nation and the band’s managers agreed to a 60-show tour in North America, with Buckingham included in the lineup as a band member.
Still, Buckingham wanted to play solo shows at smaller theaters in between the Fleetwood Mac tour, according to the complaint. He wanted permission from the other members that he could perform solo shows during the tour and then he would give permission to the band to announce the Fleetwood Mac tour.
But there was a delay.
“Buckingham was told by his manager that Nicks’ manager had not yet told Nicks about Buckingham’s possible solo shows or asked for Nicks’ approval for Buckingham’s solo shows during the tour,” according to the complaint.
There was no announcement for either tour and on Jan. 28, Buckingham was told that the tour was off, according to his complaint. He said over the next three days he tried to reach out to the other members of the band, but succeeded in “receiving only two cryptic written responses.”
“It would take three more days until Buckingham was finally informed that the other partners planned to tour without him,” said Buckingham.
Following that news, Buckingham said he tried to contact the band members to say he wanted to play in the tour. He sent an email to Mick Fleetwood and copied Christine McVie.
“After forty-three years and the finish line clearly in sight, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that for the five of us to splinter apart now would be the wrong thing,” wrote Buckingham. “Wrong for the beautiful legacy we’ve built together. Wrong for our legions of loyal fans who would hate to see the final act be a breakup. Wrong for ourselves, and all that we’ve accomplished and shared together.”
Buckingham said he offered to fly to Maui to meet with Nicks and Fleetwood, but they declined. According to Buckingham, the other members of the band “secretly, and unceremoniously, moved on without him, including hiring contract players” to play his parts.
Buckingham is seeking his rights to the proceeds from the tour offer presented by Live Nation, with an estimated $12 million to $14 million for each member.
Buckingham is suing his former band members and The Fleetwood Mac Partnership for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and other complaints.
An email to the band’s spokesperson was not immediately answered Thursday afternoon.